The Washington Commanders had an excellent opportunity to get their season back on track Sunday. Win on the road against the insufferable Dallas Cowboys and the blowout loss to the Eagles suddenly becomes a distant memory.
While the Commanders started better than they have in recent weeks, their pass-protection and lack of discipline on both sides of the ball (11 penalties for 136 yards) ultimately proved to be their downfall as backup quarterback Cooper Rush led the Cowboys to their third-straight win without Dak Prescott.
Washington, meanwhile, has lost three straight after its season-opening win over Jacksonville. Just four weeks into the campaign and the Commanders have officially entered the must-win portion of their schedule.
Unfortunately, the black uniforms weren’t enough to save Washington today.
In light of another disappointing performance, let’s highlight the game’s best and worst performers on the Commanders’ side of things.
Commanders studs and duds from Week 4 loss
Stud: Jonathan Allen
Allen has been limited by a groin injury in recent weeks but he came up with a huge third down sack in the first quarter that forced a Cowboys punt. On the previous play, Allen stuffed Ezekiel Elliott for a two-yard gain. It was only 3-0 at the time, but Allen dominated this drive and forced a punt on his own. Impressive stuff.
Allen now has two games this year with multiple tackles for loss. Later in the game, Allen batted a third-down pass in the end zone that could’ve resulted in a defensive touchdown had a teammate been close enough to pluck it out of the air.
Dud: Defensive game plan
The Commanders defense deserves credit for holding their own, but the Cowboys found a way to get Jamin Davis matched up against CeeDee Lamb on two straight plays at the end of the first quarter. You can imagine how those plays went for Davis. Lamb caught both passes for gains of 23 and 16 yards, respectively.
In Week 1, Davis got isolated against Christian Kirk on multiple occasions. The second-year linebacker is going to play in coverage from time to time, but maybe don’t have him responsible for covering dynamic slot receivers? Why is it so hard for this coaching staff to put its players in positions to have success?
Dud: Trai Turner
Turner certainly hasn’t been the stabilizing interior presence the Commanders thought they were getting when they signed him. The veteran guard has been pancaked multiple times to start the year. On Sunday, he missed an assignment that allowed Cowboys defensive lineman Neville Gallimore a free run at Carson Wentz.
Looks like Nick Martin shifted to block the blitzing Leighton Vander Esch and Turner didn’t realize Gallimore was his assignment until it was too late. After this drive, Turner was benched for Saahdiq Charles. Surprised it didn’t happen sooner.
Dud: Game management
Anyone else confused by the end of Washington’s first half? First they declined a 10-second run off when Dallas still had possession. After the Commanders took over with1:04 remaining they showed no urgency to score before halftime. They ran on first down, moved the chains with another run then Wentz took a deep shot against Trevon Diggs intended for Jahan Dotson and got picked off.
Either be all in to get more points or milk the clock entirely. The half-pregnant strategy was just a weird watch. Need better clock and game management. Not the first time we’ve said that this season and it wont’ be the last.